Abstract and Keywords
This article considers cultural meanings, empirical patterns, theoretical explanations, and social responses connected with homicide and aggravated assault. It addresses homicide and aggravated assault trends in the United States over the past few decades and cross-national comparisons of homicide and assault. It assesses that rate of aggravated assault and homicide is higher among males and the young than among females and older persons. It discusses characteristics of victims, perpetrators, and incidents; relationships between victims and perpetrators; theories of violence; and policies to reduce violent crime. The main empirical patterns in homicide and serious assault are summarized. The causal factors emphasized in explanations of the violent behavior of morally suspect persons (e.g., criminals) generally involve individual or social defects, whereas those of violence carried out by morally upright persons (e.g., soldiers, physicians) involve considerations of legal or moral obligation.
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